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Author Notes:

Correspondence to Negar Fani at: Emory University, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 101 Woodruff Circle, Suite 6007, Atlanta, GA 30322, United States. nfani@emory.edu

We wish to thank Amrita Kaimal, Saankari Challa, Jenani Srijeyanthan, Michaela Desrosiers, Katrina Conrad, and Nayan Tiwary for their assistance with data collection, as well as the contributions of our research participants and numerous research volunteers for the Grady Trauma Project.

The authors have no financial conflicts of interest to disclose.

Subjects:

Research Funding:

National Institutes of Mental Health (MH101380 to NF, MH092576 to TJ)

Emory Medical Care Foundation and American Psychological Association, Society for Clinical Neuropsychology, award 36496.

Keywords:

  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • Attention
  • PTSD
  • fMRI
  • DTI
  • Structure
  • Cognition
  • Stroop
  • WHITE-MATTER INTEGRITY
  • GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER
  • ANTERIOR CINGULATE CORTEX
  • TRAUMATIC BRAIN-INJURY
  • PTSD SYMPTOM SEVERITY
  • COGNITIVE CONTROL
  • EMOTIONAL STROOP
  • QUANTITATIVE METAANALYSIS
  • MEMORY
  • MICROSTRUCTURE

Attentional control abnormalities in posttraumatic stress disorder: Functional, behavioral, and structural correlates

Tools:

Journal Title:

Journal of Affective Disorders

Volume:

Volume 253

Publisher:

, Pages 343-351

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review

Abstract:

Background: Attentional disruptions are common in PTSD, but findings across neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies have been variable. Few PTSD studies have investigated abnormalities in attention networks using a multi-modal imaging approach and attentional tasks that include emotionally-salient images. This study combined a behavioral task that included these images (emotional Stroop)with functional and structural neuroimaging (fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging; DTI)methods to comprehensively investigate attentional control abnormalities in a highly-traumatized civilian sample. Methods: 48 traumatized women with and without PTSD received clinical assessments, fMRI and DTI. During fMRI, the Affective Stroop (AS), an attentional control task that includes emotionally-salient distractor images (trauma-relevant, positive, neutral)and variable task demands, was administered. Results: In response to more difficult AS trials, participants with PTSD demonstrated lower activation in the dorsal and rostral anterior cingulate cortex and greater activation in the insula. This group also showed comparatively poorer performance on positive AS distractor trials, even after adjusting for trauma exposure. Performance on these trials inversely correlated with structural integrity of the cingulum bundle and uncinate fasciculus. Conclusions: Even after adjusting for trauma exposure, participants with PTSD showed worse performance on an attentional control task in the context of emotional stimuli. They also showed relatively lower cognitive control network activation and greater salience network activation. Fronto-parietal and fronto-limbic white matter connectivity corresponded with AS performance. Our findings indicate that attentional control impairments in PTSD are most evident in the context of emotional cues, and are related to decrements in function and structure of cognitive control and salience networks.

Copyright information:

© 2019

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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